250 Arrested in Raid On Show in Eagles Hall

Camden Courier-Post - June 1, 1938

25 Cops, Detectives Led by Mrs. Kobus Invade 'Smoker' Given by Group; Charged Made of Gambling

More than 250 men, most of whom gave Philadelphia addresses, were arrested shortly after 1 a.m. today when a squad of police, led by Commissioner Mary E. Kobus, director of public safety, raided the Eagles Hall, Broadway near Washington street.

The men sized, according to Sergeant Walter Rowand, who led the raiding party, were viewing a lewd motion picture when the 25 detectives and uniformed men rushed up the stairway and into the auditorium.

In a side room, the raiders found a "bird cage" dice game, Rowand said.

Officers of the lodge, summoned there as the raid was being completed, said the auditorium was rented for the night for a "druggists' convention."

Rental Paid in Advance

"The lodge had nothing to do with the show or whatever it was," said Fred Eckard, of 445 Liberty street, a trustee and one of the three lodge officials in charge of the building.

"A man whose name I do not recall, came to see me Saturday and said he wanted to rent the auditorium for some sort of convention for a druggists' association. I told him the rental would be $85 and he paid it in advance."

Support was given Eckad's statement of a "druggists' convention," police said, when most of the first 20 prisoners booked -- all on material witness charges -- gave their occupation as druggist or pharmacist's clerk.

The raid, Commissioner Kobus disclosed, resulted from radio patrol car policemen reporting an unusual number of automobiles, most of them with Pennsylvania license plates, in the vicinity of the hall.

"The police," the commissioner said, "are to be commended for their vigilance in spotting cars parked in the vicinity of the hall and their investigation that resulted in the raid.

"I want to give notice now that the police department is determined that Camden shall not be the dumping ground for things of this nature."

Tickets Sold for $2.50

A number of tickets, said to have been sold for the affair, were recovered by police. The men said they paid $2.50 in advance for each ticket. Printed on cardboard about an inch and half by three and a half inches, each read:

"N.E. June Frolic -- The Eagles -- 413 Broadway, Camden, N.J., Tuesday, May 31, 1938."

Each ticket was numbered, the highest number on those recovered being 422.

Three patrol wagons were pressed into service to transport the men seized to police headquarters, each wagon taking 15 prisoners on each trip.

Rowand and Detective Sergeant Clifford Del Rossi, assisting in booking the men, said they did not expect to complete that task before 6 a.m.

No one had been charged as the proprietor or manager of the affair two hours after the raid, each of those booked insisting he had just gone there "to see the show."

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